Some projects take longer to finish than others. But here it is, the Black Diamond MegaLight modified for 4 season use. It now has bug netting, as well as optional bath tub floor and rain awning. While no longer in an ultralight category for 1 or 2 people, it is pretty light for 56 sq.ft. of floor space with a 65″ center height. It sheds rain well and can be secured against high winds. I can pick and choose elements to include, depending on the trip, and pack a shelter system weighing between and 2 and 4 lbs. Part 1 of this project covers the tent as set up for winter snow camping. This post describes making it suitable for rainy, summer outings with bugs.
Insect protection consists of 12″ no-see-UM mesh skirts on each of the four bottom edges of the pyramid. They fold in to seal under the bath tub floor. I added a mesh door with zipper behind the original tent zippered door. These changes are sewn into the tent and become part of the base weight. The original 25 oz. tent weight is now 33 oz., just over 2 lbs. The side skirts will function as snow skirts for winter camping, but the mesh door just comes along for the ride.
The carbon fiber center pole holds everything up and adds 11.5 oz. I can leave it home, if I can count on an overhead branch for hanging the tent or plan to use skis or poles as a center post. The corners and mid panels are secured with eight MSR stakes weighing 3.8 oz. In winter snow anchors would add between 3.1 and 6.8 oz. depending if the four optional wind guys were used. So in full winter trim, with pole, I carry 3 lbs. 3 oz.
The bath tub floor measures 90″ x 90″ with a 4″ rim. Sewn from sil-nylon fabric, it weighs 12.8 oz. It has tie-outs in the corners. The rim hangs from eight corner and mid panel loops that are part of the original MegaLight construction. Each connection is made with a mitten hook and small bungie loop. The corner bungies tension the floor flat inside the tent.
To protect the floor, I put down a 3.1 oz., 85″ x 86″ PolyCro ground cloth cut from a 3M patio door interior storm window kit.
I can keep the outer door open for ventilation in wet weather by reusing the tent awning I made back at the start of this journey to complement a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 tent I was using (see Tent Evolution). The awning with two stakes weighs 3.8 oz. Trekking poles to hold up the awning. For summer in the rain forest, the shelter package weighs 4 lbs.
I start pitching the tent by laying down the PolyCro ground cloth. The bath tub floor is next. I spread the tent out over that and connect each floor corner bungie to the tent corner. The four tent corners are then staked out tight and square. I unzip both openings, leaving the bottom snap buckle on the outer door fastened. The center pole goes into its top harness and erects the tent. I place a small blue foam disk under the bottom of the pole to reduce wear on the floor. Tent side panels are staked down and the eight bath tub floor hangers connected inside. Final peg adjustments bring the panels taut. The awning rigs last and I am ready to entertain. For more about the chair, stay tuned.
Note added 4/2017: O.K. the chair design has been finished and published. See A 2.8 oz. backpacking chair. Thanks for your patience. – Henry